When they said sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite, they weren’t joking! Bed bugs can be a real problem for many of us out there.

They can cause annoying itching and the appearance of one or several more red welts on your skin. Bed bug infestations could have severe consequences. Spotting even a single bed bug should ring alarm bells and prompt you to take swift action by contacting professional bed bug exterminators.

However, the biggest problem is their appearance. Because bed bugs are so sneaky, it can be hard to spot them.

So, what do bed bugs look like, and how do you find them? Let’s take a look together!

What do bed bugs look like

The Appearance of Bed Bugs

If you suspect a bed bug infestation, you must learn what one looks like. For starters, bed bugs have different colours depending on their age and feeding status.

Usually, they can be dark yellow, brown, or red. When freshly hatched, bed bugs are often light yellow and get darker as they mature. If they’ve just fed, you’ll find them redder due to the ingested blood.

As for the size, adult bed bugs are approximately 5–7 mm or 3/16–¼ inch long. They can elongate just a little bit when fed.

It makes them visible to the naked eye, yet small enough to easily hide in the sheet’s folds and furniture. When unfed, they have a flat, oval-shaped body, which elongates and turns balloon-like after feeding.

If you look closely, you’ll also find they have golden-coloured, microscopic body hair, giving their body a striped look. Finally, bed bugs are wingless and have moustaches and six legs.

Regular Habitat and Hiding Spots

Bed bugs stay close to their primary food source; unfortunately for us, that’s humans. So, you’ll often find them near the bed frames and mattresses.

They’ll hide in the seams and crevices inside the mattress to ensure they’re near you when sleeping.

Another spot is your closet and clothes. Bed bugs can infest any clothes pile you leave out, especially if it’s near your bed.

It is one of the worst places to find them, as it allows the bed bugs to relocate to different parts of your home.
Finally, they can hide in all types of furniture, especially ones with upholstery. For example, the tiny gaps and crevices in couches, armchairs, or ottomans are perfect spots for them. Also, the chances of finding bed bugs on furniture other than your bed are even higher if you often sleep on your sofa or armchair.

Other potential hiding spots include cracks in the walls and even electrical outlets.

How to Check for Bed Bugs?

If you’ve spotted a bed bug and suspect there might be more, then keep an eye out for the following signs:

Bite Marks

Bed bug bite marks can appear differently depending on your skin tone. If you’re pale, these bites will appear red, itchy bumps, making them easily noticeable.

On the other hand, if you have a darker complexion, the bites will appear more purple or dark brown, which can be harder to detect as they blend in.

The bites are often accompanied by itchiness that gets worse with inflammation if you scratch it. Unfortunately, for some individuals, these bites can lead to anaphylaxis if they’re allergic.

Blood Spots

Don’t worry if you find little blood spots on your sheets! Usually, these stains appear when a bed bug, having just fed, gets accidentally crushed by its host.

Another source for these blood spots could be the bites themselves. While they’re too small to be troublesome, a droplet or two can leak, staining your sheets.

Bed Bugs Faeces

Bed bug faeces are another sign that can help you determine if you have an infestation. Typically, these markers are tiny, appear brown, red, or black, and look like smears or dots. Because their diet consists of human blood, you’ll notice that fresh faeces are mainly red. It can mean the bed bugs aren’t that far off, and you can look for them.

You’ll also often find them in clusters or trails, reflecting their movements and whereabouts. Old faeces are mostly a rusty colour.

If you spot any, give it a closer look to guarantee it’s not just a regular stain or dirt. A key factor is where you find the stain—the hidden spot around your bed or furniture!

Other Signs

A few more signs, albeit less obvious, can help you figure out if you have bed bugs. One of these signs includes moulting, resulting from a bed bug shedding skin. It usually happens multiple times before they’re fully grown, and you can easily spot it if there’s a large infestation.

Another thing to look out for is the odour. Bed bugs produce a musty, sweet odour from their scent glands. The smell can be more prominent if the infestation is in a closed room or large numbers.

Bed bug faeces

Quick Recap

So, what do bed bugs look like? They’re usually light yellow when young and grow brown or red, depending on their feeding.

Regarding their size, bed bugs are approximately 5–7 mm or 3/16–¼ inch long. These numbers can change as they tend to elongate when they’ve just fed.

Bed bugs have a flat, oval-shaped body that changes as they feed to a more elongated shape. Finally, they are wingless and have tiny golden hairs, moustaches, and six legs.